SWEET BREATH OF MEMORY

Ariella Cohen

With its tree-lined streets and curbside planters

brimming with spring bulbs, Amberley,

Massachusetts seems a good place for Cate Saunders

to start over. It’s been two years since her husband,

John, was killed in Iraq, and life has become

something to simply struggle through. Cate’s new

job as a caregiver doesn’t pay much, but the locals

are welcoming. Cate’s barely unpacked before she’s

drawn—reluctantly at first—into a circle of friends.

There’s Gaby, who nourishes her diner customers’ spirits as well as their

bodies;

more …

With its tree-lined streets and curbside planters

brimming with spring bulbs, Amberley,

Massachusetts seems a good place for Cate Saunders

to start over. It’s been two years since her husband,

John, was killed in Iraq, and life has become

something to simply struggle through. Cate’s new

job as a caregiver doesn’t pay much, but the locals

are welcoming. Cate’s barely unpacked before she’s

drawn—reluctantly at first—into a circle of friends.

There’s Gaby, who nourishes her diner customers’ spirits as well as their

bodies; feisty Beatrice, who kept the town going when its men marched off

to WWII; and Sheila, whose Italian grocery is the soul of the place. Their

lives have also been touched by heartache. Soon, within the pages of an old

journal found in her apartment, Cate encounters another kindred spirit—

a Polish ghetto survivor who also made a new beginning in Amberley.

When revelations about Cate’s husband’s death threaten her newfound

peace of mind, these sisters-in-arms’ stories will show her an unexpected

way forward.

Cate will discover how although we suffer alone, we heal together—learning

to balance treasured memories with new dreams.

less …
  • Kensington
  • Paperback
  • July 2016
  • 400 Pages
  • 9781496703705

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About Ariella Cohen

Ariella Cohen is a graduate of Barnard College, the

Hebrew University and the University of Michigan Law School. Her short

fiction appears in A Cup of Comfort for Couples, Heartscapes, and Flashshot.

She lives in New England; visit her at ariellacohenauthor.wordpress.com.

Praise

“Filled with compassion, humor and honesty, Sweet Breath of Memory is

a powerful story of forgiveness. Through food and friendship, a community

releases its long held secrets.”—Karen Brown, author of The Longings of

Wayward Girls

“Ariella Cohen spins a tender yarn about the enduring nature of love, the

importance of friendship and the eternal longing for a place to call home. A

big hearted story; every page brims with warmth, wisdom and compassion.”—Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of You Were Meant for Me

Discussion Questions

Cate’s memories of John are fluid, shifting in and out of

focus and becoming abraded by time. She questions if

this means her love was somehow flawed. Why do you

think some memories remain crisp, while others blur

and seem to dim?

Cate speaks of memories as a shield against loneliness and despair.

Like armor, they’re ‘initially so shiny they dazzle and in time acquiring

the patina of use.’ Do you agree? Are there particular memories that

have been your armor in life?

How does the life path of Cate mirror that of Miriam Rosen? Can

the guilt Cate feels over John’s death be compared with a Holocaust

survivor’s guilt?

Gaby does not initially tell her closest friends that she is ill. Knowing

how her parents’ death shadows her life, do you think denying herself

the comfort of friendship is a form of self-punishment?

Working as a home care aid, Cate wears the uniform of one valued

more for what her hands can do than what her mind can imagine.

Compare her initial attitude toward caregiving with Gaby’s toward

waitressing. Both women come to view such manual labor as a form of

atonement. Is this healthy?

When Helen describes growing up with her mother, the anger and

resentment she felt toward Charlotte is obvious even though it was

tempered by great love. How can we help friends and colleagues face

the unique challenges of caregiving?

Who do you think gave Cate Miriam’s journal entries? Why were they

given to her?

At the end of the novel, Cate comes home to Amberley. Compare

that scene with her arrival by bus in chapter one. Think about how

the women of Amberley changed in the interim. Is Cate a catalyst for

change much as Miriam was decades before?